Forests are disappearing from the Earth at an alarming pace, equivalent to approximately 50 football fields per minute. However, persuading people to transition away from wood-based products proves to be a challenging task. This is where Indowud comes into picture. This 3-year-old company, established in Chennai, is actively using recycled rice husk pellets to make wood. They aim to produce such plywood that would decrease plant cutting and CO2 emission from husk burning.
Yes, their NFC boards, or natural fibre composite boards, are made from agricultural husks rather than wood from trees. The founder of Indowud, BL Bengani explains, “Indowud NFC is a wood without wood. Many say ours is an artificial wood while we say it is natural. While wood fibre boards have wood particles in them, Indowud NFC boards have only agricultural husks as the basic raw material.”
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Recycled Rice Husk Pellets to Make Wood – Origin of Indowud
The Indowud NFC (Natural Fiber Composite Board) was launched in the year 2019. According to B: Bengani, this remarkable product is not only termite-proof, waterproof, and flame retardant, but also 100% recyclable. In addition, it has the extraordinary ability to be moulded and shaped into any desired form. It utilizes agricultural husk, along with minerals, PVC resin imported from Japan and South Korea, and other components, as a substitute for wood.
With over four decades of experience in the plywood industry, Bengani was acutely aware of the pressing need for a sustainable alternative that could mitigate the environmental impacts of tree cutting.
According to CEO, â€œTheir product has multiple uses. It can be used for furniture, as well as exterior applications. It can withstand any climatic condition; be it winter or summer. This can be used in place of GFRC (Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete) for exteriors.â€
According to him, product’s successful launch in 2021, is followed by supplying them to New Zealand, Australia, and Oman. They are now working towards exporting to the United States.
Indowud Rice Husk Board Features
Indowud NFC stands out as an exceptional wood variety, specifically engineered for unparalleled durability.
- Anti-rodent and Anti-bacterial
- UV-resistant, smoke suppressant, and sound-proof
- Water and termite-proof
- Fungus, algae or mold resistant,
- Durable with good screw holding.
- Easily machinable and can be shaped with thermoformable.
- Resistant to expansion/contraction and no splintering or crack
- No formaldehyde emissions
- No Harmful Ingredients and 100% Eco-Friendly
- Not susceptible to Flame with VO rating in UL94 test and Class 1 or A as per ASTM E84
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Rice Husk Uses
Indowud’s NFC boards use recycled rice husk pellets to make wood, making them durable and versatile. They are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions. They use rice husk to replace wood that turns out better than wood-based panels for both outdoor and indoor use. With thermoforming process, the possibilities are endless.
- Outdoor Applications: benches, facades, fencing, garden & pool side furniture, terrace, seaside homes, Partitions and wall paneling, Wet areas, and more.
- Most suitable for hospitals, hotels, hospitality and resorts
- Indoor Applications: All types of interior furniture for office, showroom and home
- Furniture: kitchen & bathroom, vanities, wardrobes, and more.
- Places that need good acoustics, like home theatres, studios, and auditoriums.
Easy Availability of Raw Material
Varun Bengani, who handles the sales, is also the son of B. L. Bengani, he said, â€œThis gives an incremental revenue to the farmers, who would otherwise dump these husks as waste.â€ The company’s plant located at Gummidipoondi on the Chennai-Kolkata Highway benefits from a plentiful supply of agricultural husk within the 10 km radius of the factory.
B.L. Bengani explains that as paddy is cultivated across four seasons in Tamil Nadu, there is always an abundant supply of husk. This also provides some extra revenue for farmers. Bengani says, “This means a saving of around 10,000 cubic metre of natural wood (20,000 trees) every year. The idea of making boards from agricultural husks came during a visit to the US. After nearly two years of research, Indowud NFC was introduced in 2019.”
He further added, â€œAnnually, the company acquires approximately 3,000 tonnes of husks. Their production plant has a remarkable production capacity of 5,000 tonnes, allowing us to produce an impressive quantity of around 2 lakh sheets.â€
Cross-Reference: Indowud Design Technology
Rice Husk Particle Board Manufacturing Process
The company uses recycled rice husk pellets to make wood and manufactures their no wood ply board through the following processes:
1. Selection of Raw Material
Company have partnered with local farming communities to ensure a consistent supply of natural fibers, while also acquiring the highest quality virgin PVC Resin from Japan and South Korea.
2. Matrix Formulation
When combined with minerals, coupling agents, heat stabilizers, and essential additives under precise temperature and pressure conditions, these polymers and fibers create a unified matrix that facilitates strong bonding between them.
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3. Interface Strength
The strength of each board depends on the bonds and density of the compound. Indowud NFC uses mathematical calculations to control fiber dispersion and interfacial bonding, resulting in strong impact resistance and internal strength.
After that, the compound undergoes extrusion in a continuous process at a controlled temperature, passing through different calibration pads.
A ring die pellet machine with an essential feeder is commonly recommended to produce pellets from crushed rice husk material, due to its lightweight and soft texture. With this feeding device, the process can be made streamlined and consistent.
As a result, the processing efficiency of the pellets is significantly enhanced. This is further used in manufacturing processes to make boards.
5. Cooling & Finishing
The cooling bracket is the final and most important step in the process flow. The boards are then subjected to additional processing, such as transverse cutting, trimming, and surface treatment.
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Rice Husk Properties
Rice husk consists of hard protective coverings that remain once the rice grains have been extracted. This leftover material mainly consist of silica. While these materials can serve as an energy source, their high ash content poses challenges when it comes to co-firing, compared to other biomass materials. The ash contents present range from 15% to 20% (on a dry basis) with SiO2 content above 60% to 70%.
- Black Ash – 23.34 ± 0.07
- Gray Ash – 10.23 ± 0.01
- White Ash – 5.46 ± 0.07
Rice Husk Pellet Machine
There have been attempts to market pellets made from a combination of rice husks and olive residues. However, the level of commercial success achieved by this product remains uncertain. But overall, the demand for rice husk is increasing.
The basic two types of husk pellet machine are as follows:
1. Ring Die Pellet Mill
The ring die pellet mill design positions the die vertically, unlike the flat die that is positioned horizontally. The raw material is introduced into the die center where it undergoes compression by a set of rollers, resulting in a highly compacted output.
While most ring die pellet mills are equipped with two compression rollers, some models offer the advantage of having three or even four compression rollers. The most common design for a ring die pellet mill is one where the die rotates, and the rollers move because of the friction and movement of the die.
2. Flat Die Pellet Mill
It has a metal plate beneath some compression rollers. Material is inserted from above and falls between the rollers where it is compressed using the die. Once the manufacturing process is complete, the finished pellets are released from the bottom of the die and exit the pellet mill. Many online re-sellers often market these pellet mills as wood pellet mills.
â€œWe are seeing the effects of global warming and deforestation. The entire ecosystem is being harmed. We thought of taking the first step to protect mother nature and doing something. The idea was to develop an alternative to wood, without compromising on quality,â€ adds Bengani. He invites anyone interested in manufacturing a similar product, offering his willingness to collaborate upon contact. This is a major reason why he hasn’t yet patented the product under his name.
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